The playoffs continued in the city of San Diego as it was the Loyal’s turn to showcase their skills in front of a playoff atmosphere.
The San Diego Loyal fell to the Oakland Roots 3-0 in what turned into a disaster for the Loyal.
Manager Landon Donovan issued a 4-4-2 formation with Koke Vegas in goal for the Loyal. Thomas Amang and Evan Conway were the two starting forwards, as Kyle Vassell and his team-leading 14 goals started on the bench.
The decision to start Vassell on the bench was an interesting one … and as a result, they were not able to connect with a goal.
The first half was very evenly matched. Early on, SD was the more aggressive team, and it almost paid off for them. They attempted eight shots, with four on target. However, none made it passed keeper Paul Blanchette.
The tides changed round the 37th minute when Oakland took advantage of a Loyal mistake near their own goal. Forward Charlie Dennis took the pass and drilled a perfect shot to the right of the diving Koke Vegas. The first playoff goal at Torero Stadium came from the opponents.
DENNIS THE MENACE!
— Oakland Roots (@oaklandrootssc) October 24, 2022
The rest of the half showed a lot of heart from the Loyal. They kept batting, trying to even the score. Late in the half, Thomas Amang went down during a scary situation. It seemed like an elbow caught him in the back of the head, and the trainers attended to him for a few minutes until he was able to walk off on his own power. He started the second half.
The first half ended 1-0, as Oakland attempted just two shots all half. They got the one that mattered.
The second half of this match was not a normal half of soccer. I’ll cut right to the chase … the Loyal did not execute a solid game plan during the final half of the match.
Three players were eventually sent off with red cards, and the Loyal finished the match with just eight men. As a result, Oakland managed to add on two more goals to win the match 3-0. The issue came in the first half when three players were given yellow cards. The aggressiveness did not pay off, and the head official had enough of it.
I must admit, the head official seemed clueless out there. He sent Alejandro Guido off with a red card, and he didn’t even see the foul. There will be plenty of reasons why the Loyal did not win this match. However, the main reason was they were just sloppy defending the attack.
Donovan shared his thoughts on what happened late in the match.
“It’s a cruel game sometimes,” Donovan said. “I am disappointed in the red cards. You can’t put yourself in a position to get sent off. I think we still had a chance to get back into the game. That is disappointing but first, I want to say thank you to all the fans all year. It’s hard to look at it right now but it has been a special season.”
Captain Charlie Adams reflects on the season and has a message to the fans.
“The fans have directed us through multiple games this season,” Adams said. “I am speechless with them. They are committed to us and they chant the whole way through. They are our superpower and I am so thankful for them.”
The special season comes to an end for the Loyal. They fought hard all year long and finished the season as the 2nd seed in the Western Conference. This is a good soccer team, and they will be back next year.
Until next time Loyal fans …
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News and Notes
- Nick Moon and Jack Blake were unavailable Sunday, dealing with injuries.
- Defender Alejandro Fuenmayor was carted off in the 32nd minute and was replaced by Emrah Klimenta for the Roots.
Chris is a graduate of the University of San Diego. He is the former Sports Editor for the USDVista newspaper. Chris is also an athlete and is huge fan of San Diego sports. Chris has covered the San Diego Loyal, and contributes regularly about the Padres.